James Forman was a prominent African-American leader in the civil rights movement. He was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party, and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. As the executive secretary of SNCC from 1961 to 1966, Forman played a significant role in the freedom rides, the Albany movement, the Birmingham campaign, and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
After the 1960s, Forman spent the rest of his adult life organizing black people around issues of social and economic equality. He also taught at American University and other major institutions. He wrote several books documenting his experiences within the movement and his evolving political philosophy including Sammy Younge Jr.: The First Black College Student to Die in the Black Liberation Movement (1969), The Making of Black Revolutionaries (1972 and 1997) and Self Determination: An Examination of the Question and Its Application to the African American People (1984).
The New York Times called him "a civil rights pioneer who brought a fiercely revolutionary vision and masterly organizational skills to virtually every major civil rights battleground in the 1960s
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